I just can’t seem to like my tank

Dechi

It’s my first ever salt water tank. I’ve been in the hobby with freshwater set ups for very long and I always wanted to try saltwater and finally did 3 1/2 months ago.

The tank is an Evo 13.5 gallons with 2 oscellaris, 1 trochus snail, 1 nassarius snail and 3 cerith snails. Oh and 1 green slimer that’s half alive, trying to survive. It’s full of algae and diatoms, the clean up crew aren’t doing a good job. Not enough of them.

I’m just not into it. The fish aren’t that attractive, they mostly swim in the same corner all day. The tank is in it’s ugly phase but I’ve been through that many, many times with my freshwater tanks but this time I don’t know, I just don’t feel like I’m into it. Also, I feel it’s a hassle to change 2-3 gallons of water. You have to match salinity and temperature and fiddle until you get it right. I mean, it took me longer to do my WC on this tank than on my 75 gallons freshwater tank….

I also hate the dirty streaks the salt water is leaving on everything it touches. And when I put my hands in the water I feel a slight burn. It doesn’t really hurt but it’s annoying. One last thing; I picked these specific snails and bought them online at four times the price because of shipping because they could supposedly right themselves. Guess what…. they don’t !

So what do you think ? Am I done ? Should I rehome the inhabitants and put the tank back in its box ? Or is there hope I will suddenly take pleasure in all this ?
 

wateriswet

Bump.

It's hard to say and I'm not a salt water person.... yet. I think the salt water fish are beautiful and toy with idea from time to time and found your questions interesting.So take my free advice for what it's worth, haha.

I think you should give it another 2-3 months. You're figuring out your "flow" and aren't quite there yet. I think if you quit now you'll wonder if you should have stuck with it longer. Buy some reusable shoulder length nitrile gloves (about $15 on Amazon) for doing water changes and a cheap towel to keep on hand for any drips. See if the water change ordeal becomes any easier. Are there any tools that could help? Do you listen to music, podcasts, or audio books that you enjoy while you change the water?
 
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A201

I maintained a Marine tank for three years back in the late 80's. Some of my favorite fish were the Clown Trigger, Achilles & Powder Blue Tangs & various Angelfish. I failed miserably with Butterfly fish.
I too got tired of the salt creep, the nasty Algae, expensive marine salt mix & untreatable diseases.
If one fish gets sick, they all get sick.
I ended up donating most of the fish to the Tulsa Zoo.
The only consolation is that once one learns to successfully manage a marine tank the top level of the hobby has been achieved.
I moved on to a much easier fish, Discus. Lol.
You've really got to love the salty side of this hobby to endure the pitfalls & expense. On the bright side, I've seen some spectacular Reef tanks.
 
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Dechi

See if the water change ordeal becomes any easier. Are there any tools that could help? Do you listen to music, podcasts, or audio books that you enjoy while you change the water?

I play music on Spotify while doing my WC. I have a disability and it’s not helping that I have to go up and down the stairs multiple times to go get my water, salt, more salt, more water, etc.

If I can be better at keeping my salinity at the right level, it will be a lot easier.

I think your advice is sound. I need another 2-3 months to get the hang of it. I just don’t know if I’ll get there. :)
 
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jkkgron2

My suggestion for you is to give it another couple months or so, but if you still don’t enjoy it enough to make the maintenance worth it then I’d suggest taking it down. After I crashed my SW tank I converted it to a freshwater planted tank, and IME so far it’s been SO much easier to take care of, so if you do decide to break down the tank I’d convert it to freshwater instead of not using it entirely.
 
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Jesterrace

It’s my first ever salt water tank. I’ve been in the hobby with freshwater set ups for very long and I always wanted to try saltwater and finally did 3 1/2 months ago.

The tank is an Evo 13.5 gallons with 2 oscellaris, 1 trochus snail, 1 nassarius snail and 3 cerith snails. Oh and 1 green slimer that’s half alive, trying to survive. It’s full of algae and diatoms, the clean up crew aren’t doing a good job. Not enough of them.

I’m just not into it. The fish aren’t that attractive, they mostly swim in the same corner all day. The tank is in it’s ugly phase but I’ve been through that many, many times with my freshwater tanks but this time I don’t know, I just don’t feel like I’m into it. Also, I feel it’s a hassle to change 2-3 gallons of water. You have to match salinity and temperature and fiddle until you get it right. I mean, it took me longer to do my WC on this tank than on my 75 gallons freshwater tank….

I also hate the dirty streaks the salt water is leaving on everything it touches. And when I put my hands in the water I feel a slight burn. It doesn’t really hurt but it’s annoying. One last thing; I picked these specific snails and bought them online at four times the price because of shipping because they could supposedly right themselves. Guess what…. they don’t !

So what do you think ? Am I done ? Should I rehome the inhabitants and put the tank back in its box ? Or is there hope I will suddenly take pleasure in all this ?

I think a big part of it is the limitations of a smaller tank coupled with the fact that clownfish do tend to just hang out in one spot once they get established (IMHO they aren't anywhere near as interesting as other fish in the hobby). Personally I think that gobies are a much better choice for a smaller tank. They may not be quite as bright and stand out from a distance like clownfish but man they have cool individual personality quirks that are just a blast to watch. I had 2 different Diamond Watchman Gobies and they had their own interesting way of dealing with hermit crabs. The first one nominated himself the clean up crew manager and would pick up hermit crabs that he found on the sand and place them on the rockwork as if to say "I got the sand, you get the rock work" The other one would get extremely irritated when hermits would enter his burrow and he would pick them up in his mouth and launch them at the glass. Not anything strong enough to break it but enough to scare me if I had my back turned when he did it and I would turn around to see a very dazed and stumbling hermit crab and one PO'ed goby glaring at me from his burrow. A tailspot blenny would do well in your tank and they have comical personalities (playing peak-a-boo in and out of the rockwork).

Another good choice for a nano fish would be a pink streaked wrasse.

As for the maintenance it would definitely help to have some hermit crabs in there to eat. It is recommended to be as close as possible to one per gallon. The other factor which we have already discussed is that you are using treated tapwater which is partially contributing to your algae problems. I get that RODI isn't really practical for you but I don't know if there would be any way of doing at least distilled as that could help a fair bit as well. Do you have a pond pump for water changes/mixing?

Sorry, forgot to mention that getting an auto top off system will greatly simplify keeping your salinity levels between water changes. It adds fresh water from a jug that sits next to your tank.
 
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Dechi

A tailspot blenny would do well in your tank and they have comical personalities (playing peak-a-boo in and out of the rockwork).
Can I keep the clowns or should I rehome them if I get one tailspot blenny and the crabs ?

As for the maintenance it would definitely help to have some hermit crabs in there to eat. It is recommended to be as close as possible to one per gallon.

They will do a good job at eating the algae and diatoms ? Can they get out of the tank like snails do ? Will they kill the snails ?

The other factor which we have already discussed is that you are using treated tapwater which is partially contributing to your algae problems. I get that RODI isn't really practical for you but I don't know if there would be any way of doing at least distilled as that could help a fair bit as well.

I fixed that about 4 weeks ago. I bought a 4 stage RO/DI system and did a 100% water change. The green slimer was dying so my test was conclusive : tap water doesn’t work with corals. It’s starting to grow a little bit now.

Do you have a pond pump for water changes/mixing?

I don’t know what a pond pump is. But whatever it is, it won’t help me carrying the bucket from upstairs.

I’m also really bad at creating syphons. I wish I could just syphon from the bucket to the tank. Maybe that’s what the pond pump would do for me ?

I really appreciate your answer. What you described gives me an image of what an enjoyable tank might look like.

Depending on what your answers are, I think I’ll make new plans for this tank. :)
 
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Jesterrace

You should be able to keep the clowns with a tailspot blenny although the clowns can be territorial so I would keep an eye on it. The tailspot is a strict Herbivore so it should have access to seaweed/nori and or algae tabs for feeding.

Hermits can get out of a tank (climb the corners, but a tight fitting lid keeps them in place. They will periodically pick off snails even if you leave a few empty shells, so just plan on replacing snails and hermits periodically (this is part of having a clean up crew). The upside is that they eat left over food bits/fish poop that snails won't eat. The other option is to go with Bumblebee Snails as they perform a similar function to hermit crabs (although they can be a risk with some soft corals if they don't get enough to eat and may pick off the occasional snail). The problem with just running algae eating snails is that they only address the problem after the fact (after the left over food bits and detritus encourage unwanted algae growth) while hermits and bumblebee snails address the problem at the source.

Good to hear on the RODI system so at least that shouldn't be an issue for you anymore.

A pond pump is a small motorized pump that pumps water where you need it. I use 2 of them to do water changes for my tanks (1 for freshwater and 1 for salt) and they have been game changers for me. If you can get a long enough hose you could pump it from downstairs to the upstairs.

I use this guy and it has been great (only issue is that you have to pull the hose out once it is done so you don't have suction creating a back flow).

https://www.amazon.com/VIVOSUN-Subm...7&sr=1-1-49946e88-733b-44df-869b-c05699555c56

You might need a more powerful version to pump from the downstairs to the upstairs but then again this pump might work given the small volume of water you are working with (you only need it to move a couple of gallons).

You can see mine in action here:

 
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Dechi

Well, this thread has helped revive my passion and I decided to go all in and give it a whole year before deciding if this is for me or not.

I’ve spent the week buying stuff for my tank and I’ve surprised myself longing for a bigger one… But that won’t be for a while, if it happens.

So this week I bought (bye bye budget)

- tailspot blenny
- sicce syncra silent 1.0 water pump
- 1 x GSP coral
- 2 x green rodactis corals
- 2 x pulsing xenia corals
- 1 x duncan coral (2 heads). My bill says candy coral though. Are they the same ?

I’ve also ordered :
- AI 16 HD prime light
- Hard mount
- Aquonics fine mesh lid with food opening

I can’t wait to get the light and lid, as this was a major pain in the neck. Constantly lifting the two lids and fiddling with them was taking away the fun.

The next step might be a new stand and an ATO. I need a bigger stand to hold the container for the ATO. Also, if I get a stand, I’ll get one for the size I want my next tank.

I guess I’m unpredictable, lol ! Or not, when I think of it. I’ve always hated stuff that wasn’t up to par and practical. Maybe that’s part of why I wasn’t enjoying it, besides the tank not being very lively.
 
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Jesterrace

Nice choices there. The more automated you make it the more you will enjoy it. BTW I was going to ask how you liked the Tailspot Blenny?
 
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Dechi

BTW I was going to ask how you liked the Tailspot Blenny?

He’s just a sweet little guy. Very curious, likes to lounge a lot, sometimes on the mushroom and often in little crevices.

It’s a nice addition to my tank. Thank you for the tip ! I gave him a 1/4 of a spirulina tablet but the clowns and snails ate it. At least he’s eating algae.

Today I had a medical appointment near the LFS so I went and got three more corals. 2 more Duncan heads, 1 more pulsing xenia and 1 kenya tree.

Now I have to figure out to to cut the frags without having the coral fly 3 feet away…. I hurt the pulsing xenia; I cut off a polyp. The others were thrown in the air, into the sink.

Mind you I’m using a bush/tree cutter and I’ve ruined it. :-(
 
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